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About the program
Kartini Clinic for Children and Families is located in Portland, Oregon and was founded in 1998 by Dr. Julie O’Toole MD MPH, an internationally recognized expert in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in children and adolescents. Kartini Clinic began as an outpatient program, but it soon became clear to Dr. O’Toole that many patients with eating disordered could not be treated effectively on an outpatient basis. Kartini Clinic’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) was created in 2004 to provide medically necessary and clinically appropriate eating disorder treatment specifically for children and adolescents (ages 6 to 18).
From the very beginning Kartini Clinic’s program has been family-centered, with a strong medical emphasis on prompt, adequate weight gain as a prerequisite to a resumption of normal growth and development. Since its founding Kartini Clinic has treated more than 3000 patients and their families from all over the United States and around the world, from every walk of life and every conceivable socio-economic background.
Our clinical work has taught us that parents don’t cause eating disorders and children don’t choose to have them. Instead, eating disorders are highly heritable brain illnesses (meaning they run in families) and are not caused by bad parenting or a child’s “desire for control”. These theories have long ago been debunked by an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence.
Where does Kartini Clinic get its name?
Raden Adjeng Kartini was a prominent social activist and advocate for equal rights, especially education for women and girls, despite being born into privileged nobility on the island kingdom of Java, now part of modern day Indonesia. To this day her memory is honored in Indonesia on April 21, known as Hari Kartini (Kartini Day).
Born in 1879, her life was severely narrowed by social restrictions and taboos, the common lot for women of her era, even relatively privileged ones. Uncommonly, however, her father and brother allowed her to attend a Dutch elementary school in her neighborhood. Kartini’s education and ability to read, write, and speak Dutch set her apart from other young women. Far from flaunting her advantage or settling into feelings of superiority, Kartini spent her short life planning for the education of other women. This is a quote taken from one of the many letters she wrote to her Dutch friend Stella in 1899 when she was twenty:
“I have been longing to make the acquaintance of a ‘modern girl,’ that proud, independent girl who has all my sympathy! She who, happy and self-reliant, lightly and alertly steps her way through life, full of enthusiasm and warm feelings; working not only for her own well-being and happiness, but for the greater good of humanity as a whole.”
By naming our clinic after Raden Kartini, we honor the spirit of a young Javanese princess, very much like your daughters and our own. More information about Kartini’s life and times are available on Wikipedia. for